FORT PIERCE — Five exceptional Indian River State College (IRSC) professors and staff members were surprised with Endowed Teaching Chairs from the Indian River State College Foundation in recognition of their outstanding work at the college and in support of new initiatives that will benefit students and the community.
“The Endowed Teaching Chair program recognizes outstanding faculty and staff and their passion to connect with students for their success,” states Dr. Timothy Moore, IRSC President. “These five exceptional honorees have the opportunity to implement innovative programs that will create enhanced student support tools and new learning experiences.”
The surprise presentations were made at the annual faculty welcome back ceremony held in McAlpin Fine Arts Center on the College’s Massey Campus in Fort Pierce. Recipients were celebrated with the gift of a miniature wooden “chair.” Each recipient will receive an annual stipend in support of their project: $6,000 a year for three consecutive years ($4,000 to implement their initiatives and improve instruction in their field of expertise and $2,000 in recognition of excellence in teaching). The Endowed Teaching Chair program is made possible by contributions to the IRSC Foundation.
This year’s recipients are: Fort Pierce resident, Ms. Emily M. Renschler, Master Instructor of Education, with the Richardson Endowed Teaching Chair in Business and Entrepreneurship; Vero Beach resident, Dr. Bruce W. Fraser, Professor of Humanities with the BankAtlantic Foundation Endowed Teaching Chair; Winter Haven resident, Mr. Joseph Graham, Welding Instructor, IRSC Workforce Education and Development, with the J. Douglas Stephens Endowed Teaching Chair in Technology; Port St. Lucie resident, Dr. Kyle Bartow, Associate Professor of Biology, with the Banack Family Partnership Endowed Teaching Chair in Agriculture; and Vero Beach resident, Ms. Katie Profeta, Instructional Designer, IRSC Global, with the Endowed Chair in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Ms. Renschler desires to strengthen the network of support for recent IRSC education graduates and build off the current Teacher Educator Alumni Mentorship (T.E.A.M.) program to assist recent graduates with additional resources, mentorship, grant opportunities, and professional development. The goal is to build successful connections between students and mentors to cultivate student success, develop a highly skilled workforce, and improve retention in the teaching profession.
Dr. Fraser aims to establish ‘New Common Ground’ by building a community of IRSC employees with a common interest in providing instruction and intramural resources that will help students find common ground and breakdown barriers that hamper communication and collaboration with those of different beliefs, backgrounds, or values.
Mr. Graham seeks to enhance IRSC recruitment and retention efforts in Workforce Education and Development. His project focuses on technology-based solutions to broaden the institution’s audience of potential students and generate a more collective recruiting and retention platform.
Dr. Bartow will implement a living shoreline as tool to promote environmental education, stewardship of our waterways, and to help improve water quality, especially around the Indian River Lagoon. Through the creation of a new living shoreline IRSC students will be granted opportunities in citizen science, environmental research, and mentorship not offered at other colleges or universities.
Ms. Profeta will create an in-house accessibility course to provide hands-on practice that bridges the current knowledge gap surrounding document accessibility and usability. Workshops, pilot testing, and incentive challenges will both motivate and empower IRSC employees to embrace a more proactive approach to accessibility and increase confidences in the subject matter.
To date, the IRSC Foundation has awarded 66 faculty members with Endowed Teaching Chairs — representing more than $1.2 million in endowed funds for innovative and forward-thinking instructional support to IRSC faculty members. Other Endowed Teaching Chair awards include the John and Marilyn McConnell Endowed Teaching Chair, the Patterson Endowed Teaching Chair in Humanities, the Marilyn C. Link Endowed Teaching Chair Endowed Teaching Chair in Financial Management; the Susan H. Johnson Endowed Teaching Chair, the Basil L. King Endowed Teaching Chair in Health Science, the Gladys Williams Wolf Endowed Teaching Chair in Communications, the Community Endowed Teaching Chair in Fine Arts; and the J. Douglas Stephens Endowed Teaching Chair.
For more information about supporting an Endowed Teaching Chair with a tax-deductible contribution, please call the IRSC Foundation at 772-462-4786.